This is the tricky one. Especially for us goal-oriented, success-hungry, ambitious types. For us who, almost compulsively, dive into our work. For those of us who first ask when a new idea is presented: “How will this work?”
And so we draw the second circle of our ‘trinity’ of circles. This one just on the inside of the larger ‘wow’. From the ‘wow’ we move to the ‘how’. The exuberance of youth must at some point translate into a work-able, do-able, achievable proposition. Somehow, the dream needs to have traction on the ground. We have to do something in order to make it happen. This, is the ‘how’ part of life.
But, as I said, this is the tricky stage. Because for so long we have convinced ourselves into believing that if anything good is to come in our lives, it’s because we’ve accomplished it or deserved it or earned it by our hard work.
To a degree, there is some truth here. We make decisions to the best of our judgment, hoping that we exercise discernment and wisdom. We work hard with good intentions. We are motivated to create a better society, and we act on it.
But more and more people are discovering that just because they work very hard at something, doesn’t necessarily mean they will succeed. More and more people are discovering this harsh reality on the journey of life and faith. Just because you sweat blood, sweat and tears in pursuing some ‘wow’ goal in life, doesn’t necessarily mean you will achieve it. What then?
Should we give up? Should we sit idly by and not do anything, resigned to fate? Like I said, this ‘how’ thing is tricky.
It’s also no surprise that this circle represents the second person of the Holy Trinity — Jesus. The first ‘wow’ circle was God the Father, the Creator, the beginning point. This second person of Jesus is the Saviour, the Redeemer. Jesus is the ‘how’ to journeying on the path of faith and life.
Up until this point, we may have thought that journeying in life through the ‘wows’, the ‘hows’ and the ‘nows’ was unidirectional — that it was all up to us to get it right. Jesus’ grace and presence in our lives suggests a two-way relationship. What we put into life is our approach to life and to God that says: “Thank you!” What we put into life are our efforts that don’t pretend nor presume our salvation and the salvation of the world depends on us.
Jesus won salvation for us already! He’s done the job. He’s figured out how to restore broken human relationships. Jesus offers us, and those we meet, forgiveness, grace, a new fresh start over in life — each day of our lives!
Jesus doesn’t love us because he has to; Jesus loves us because he wants to. “This frees us to simply receive that love, rather than feverishly try to make ourselves worthy of it” (p. 236, Richard Rohr, ‘On The Treshold of Transformation’).
Worth living for? Worth working for?